Contentment, originally uploaded by Ben909.

A young wild boar suckles the milk from its mother in the Forest of Dean.

The government has released the details of its public consultation on the sale of our forests. In summary, the proposal is that 'heritage' forests (eg Forest of Dean, New Forest) are handed to charities (though which, and what happens when the money runs out remains unclear, and the law will still be changed to enable a future sell-off without further recourse to Parliament), other forests to be sold to 'the community and civil society' ('cos we've all got bags of money to spare at the moment right?), and commercial forests to be sold to big business. Already the least forested country in Europe, this government won't be happy until it's all off-limits and in the hands of their tory mates.

Hands Off Our Forest - The Forest of Dean campaign.
The national petition - now over 310,000 signatures and growing.

Every day the pressure mounts on David Cameron and his government to ditch the undemocratic and widely hated Public Bodies Bill. In the last few days a YouGov poll, numerous national press articles and letters signed by the powerful and famous all say the same thing - we want to keep our forests as they are!


Watchman, originally uploaded by Ben909.

This stone sculpture is one of a number on Plump Hill in the Forest of Dean, overlooking Mitcheldean. Shot in infra-red over 55 seconds on a very windy day.

Doe, a deer...

Doe, a deer..., originally uploaded by Ben909.

A group of female fallow deer, taken last year in the Forest of Dean.

Forest of Dean - Not For Sale

Forest of Dean - Not For Sale, originally uploaded by Ben909.

Following up from my post of the 23rd December, these were taken at a local demonstration in the Forest of Dean yesterday. (BBC News)
The Forest of Dean is under threat as never before. Government plans to sell it off will limit access and destroy centuries of tradition. The mixed broad-leaf and conifer woodlands, so well managed by the Forestry Commission as an amenity for all, will be ruined. Please visit the Hands Off Our Forest campaign's web site and show your support by signing the petitions. Please also visit 38degrees and sign the petition there. The website of the local tory MP and cabinet minister (Mark Harper) is unavailable at the moment, presumably because it was full of promises to preserve the forest - something that is completely at odds with his new-found stance. He's very much in favour of selling off the forest - no doubt propelling his political career further. He refused to attend today, nor to send a representative. You can read about him at this page though, and email him here. It's not just a local problem either - it's not just the Forest of Dean that's being proposed to be sold - it's ALL our forests.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, originally uploaded by Ben909.
This is one of the big beech trees in my garden. The light source is a security light. I inadvertently left another light on which I didn't want in the shot, so ended up mirroring the image. I might have a go at doing it properly some time.
Wishing everyone a very happy new year.